The Berlin Wall Memorial on Bernauer Strasse symbolises the division of Berlin and the reunification of the German capital. The last section of the Berlin Wall, which formed the death strip along the former border, is 1.4 km long. Remains of the border fortifications still remind us of the many human fates and dramatic events that took place here when Berlin was divided.
Focus between East and West
On Bernauer Strasse, the Berlin Wall formed the border between the districts of Mitte in the east and Wedding in the west. This section of the Wall was seen as particularly dramatic by the population living here. The border ran along a front of houses in the East Berlin region. After the Wall went up, numerous residents of the border houses spontaneously decided to escape. They tried to abseil out of the windows or jumped into the safety blankets provided by the West Berlin fire brigade - several people were seriously injured or even killed. A few weeks after the border was erected, the border houses were evacuated, the residents forcibly resettled, and the doors and windows bricked up. On the site of the Church of Reconciliation, which stood closed in the death strip and was blown up in 1985, is now where the Chapel of Reconciliation stands.
Memorial for division and reunification
The erection of the border was followed by resistance and protest from the population, but the Wall alone was not a sufficient obstacle for refugees. At the Berlin Wall Memorial (on Bernauer Strasse), widely ramified escape tunnels were also built. For this reason, armed soldiers patrolled the border area and were ordered to fire at refugees if the escape could not otherwise be prevented. Several hundred deaths at the inner-German border and also directly by the Wall were the sad result of this time. It was not until April 1989 that the firing order was lifted and lost all its significance when the Wall was opened. The Berlin Wall Memorial also commemorates reunification, because the first blocks were lifted out of the Wall here on the night of November 10-11, 1989, in order to finally connect East and West. The section of the Wall on Bernauer Strasse that was preserved after the opening of the border is now a listed building. History is presented in an informative way in the Visitor and Documentation Centre and in the "Border and Ghost Stations in Divided Berlin" exhibition in the adjacent Nordbahnhof. Admission is free.
Explore Berlin with a ticket
If you would like to save time and money when you visit Berlin, the Berlin WelcomeCard is a good choice. Berlin's official tourist ticket has already been sold over 12 million times. It offers discounts of up to 50% and short waiting times at over 200 attractions in the capital. The use of public transport - either in the AB or ABC zones - is also included.